About this Show

PBS News Hour

News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown. (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)

NETWORK
PBS

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 74 (525 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
1920

PIXEL HEIGHT
1080

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 19, Afghanistan 17, U.s. 11, Dr. Daly 7, Dr. Schaffner 7, Celeste Ward Gventer 6, Karzai 6, Iraq 6, Missouri 6, Chicago 5, Clemmons 5, Washington 4, America 4, Jack Lew 3, New York 3, Dr. Morita 3, Liam 3, Mr. Shapiro 2, Gwen 2, Kristen Wier 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  PBS    PBS News Hour    News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff,  
   Jeffrey Brown.  (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    January 9, 2013
    3:00 - 3:59pm PST  

3:00pm
will, from the world of objects and the focus on objects over to the world of humans. >> brown: we update the outbreak of the flu, as the number of cases has surged to record levels in some states. >> ifill: and we close with a look at the baseball hall of fame, which denied entry to three steroid-tainted stars today. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
3:01pm
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: a major new study released today concludes that one in eight american teens has had suicidal thoughts. one of every 25 has attempted suicide. those findings come from a survey of nearly 6,500 teens published in the journal "jama psychiatry"-- the largest in- depth analysis of teens on this subject. more than half of the young people who planned, thought of, or attempted to kill themselves had received at least some treatment. nearly 1,400 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 took their own life in 2010. for more about the study and some of the issues it raises, we talk to two experts. doctor timothy lineberry is medical director of the mayo clinic psychiatric hospital. and brian daly is a clinical child and adolescent psychologist and professor at drexel university. >> welcome to you both.
3:02pm
dr. daly, how concerned should we be about these numbers? >> i think they're very concerning, gwen. i think some of the data indicates here that once we get them into treatment, with i is where we want them, we're not actually being as effective as we want to be suggesting we need formore vigilant working with the youth and we're seeing the thoughts coming after treatment which is most concerning and we know this is a group that is at high risk of dropping out so there's some question about whether i can say the mental health professionals are being vigilant in continually assessing suicide al thoughts and attempts and plans for these individuals. >> dr. lineberry as you read this report did you see signs there that gave you new information that you could use to apply to what is driving these numbers? >> well, i think this is significant kind of addition in terms of research with the information in the prevalence because this is at high irrates than it is with adults. as dr. daly pointed out, i think the issues that we have clinically are how do we
3:03pm
identify and treat at risk individuals and children and adolescents at risk for suicide and can we do a better job with clinical treatment. >> here is my question, i want to ask you both about that, when you talk about treatment and the interesting thing in the report is these were not the missed people. these were not the missed patients. people knew they were having trouble. they were already in treatment. how is it people already in treatment still get to the point where they're considering or actually acting on suicidal thoughts? dr. lineberry, you first? >> you know, as we think about suicide, one of the things to keep in mind is that it's not a binary phenomenal where it's yes or no, you either are or are not suicidal. so we see changes in terms of how people are thinking about suicide, where they're acting or planning suicide based on the severity of illness. what me need to look at doing is what are the factors associated in clinical treatment as we're going that are either signs of treatment or acting more aggressively or assertively when
3:04pm
a child or adolescent or parent is reporting there are concerns with worsening system symptoms or the initiation of the thoughts of suicide. one of the things about this study that is remarkable is the degree of thoughts of suicide associated with the temps verses thoughts of suicide and thinking of planning for suicide and subsequent attempts. dr. daly i want you to pick up on that point. we're talking about the distinction and stopping people from thinking about it and moving to acting on it? >> it's a great point that is made, sort of adding on to it. one thing that we're concerned with is that the old conventional thinking used to be if we're able to reduce the symptoms of depression that thoughts of suicide and even suicide plans and attempts should also diminish and i think we're seeing some new evidence that suggests even though we're able to reduce some of these symptoms of depression, it doesn't necessarily mean that thoughts of suicide or suicide plans are going to drop as well. so again, you know, back to my earlier point, it sort of suggested mental health professionals need to continue
3:05pm
to remain vigilant during treatment that even if we see these teenagers becoming better in terms of their symptoms of depression reducing, we need to continue to check in with them about whether they're having thoughts, plans, or ideas around suicide. >> dr. daly if it's true suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents is this something that has gotten progressively worse and is there any way we can identify why? >> no, it's not something that has gotten progressively worse. we see data suggesting suicide completion is not necessarily rising from epidemiological perspective but it's the third leading cause of death among teenagers and this is even within we have them where we want them, which is in intensive treatment. it means we aren't always doing the right things to diminish these plans and attempts and certainly from stopping the completions that occur. >> dr. lineberry, of course it strikes us close to home when who he think about young people having these thoughts or taking these actions but how does it
3:06pm
compare to adult behavior? >> well, i think there are key differences. getting back to what dr. daly had said, research shows that we're making a difference with depressive symptoms and other syndromes in adults that we're more likely to see change bess thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior and that doesn't seem to be the story that we're getting from research with children and adolescents so it's important to keep in mind that these are two different things in terms of tracking. from a prevention standpoint, it's critical that we look at what are things in terms of impulsivity because the children and adolescent data is different from impulsive attempts compared to adults so it may speak more to the need for risk-prevention strategies, making sure clear plans are in place for clinicians and for parents and families. >> and there's a difference between girls and boys, in between who will think about it and who will act as well? >> there is a difference. with girls we see a higher rate of attempts but if we look at
3:07pm
rates of suicide, we see higher rates in boys and males. and so it's important for us to also keep in mind that there may be some aspects of this research that are helpful in getting to that group as well. >> dr. daly what do we do about the stigma and the reluctant -- the reluctance touck a about this issue, especially for parents? >> it's a very difficult issue. the fact of the matter, even counselors that work with these adolescents can be discomforted by working with, you know, a suicidal teenager and so it's an issue that needs more national dialogue. there's certainly been efforts by the southern general to promote a dialogue about this but i think the individuals that work most closely with teenagers including teachers and parents are often uncomfortable with the idea of speaking with them about it and there's a myth in society that if you bring up the topic of suicide with teenagers that they're more likely to act on those impulses, when in fact we know the 0ness is true; that
3:08pm
parents, peers and teachers, when they bring up this notion with teenagers, it's shows concern and helps to decrease some suicidal ideation. >> doctor, are there social or demographic drivers here that people from a certain background or a certain geographic location are more likely to consider this? >> you know, the research study didn't look at a number of the social and demographic factors as much. we do see differences in terms of education so there were some things with the study showing differences with education, with support at home could be a factor with that. it's important to keep in mind there are a number of factors that are not just related to psychiatric illness but stressors, culture, support, support at home, supports with school and those involved with the child or adolescent. >> doctor timothy lineberry of the mayo clinic psychiatric hospital and dr. daly of drexel university thank you both so much. >> thank you.
3:09pm
>> brown: still to come on the "newshour": requiring a search warrant for a blood test; reducing troop levels in afghanistan to zero; using robots as therapy; fighting the flu and denying major stars entry to the hall of fame. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: president obama is ready to name a new treasury secretary-- his own chief of staff, jack lew. it was widely reported today that the announcement will come tomorrow. lew played a key role in the recent fiscal cliff negotiations with congress, and he previously headed the office of management and budget. if confirmed by the senate, lew would replace timothy geithner who's stepping down later this month. labor secretary hilda solis submitted her resignation today, after four years on the job. she made the decision public in an e-mail message. labor unions have praised solis for aggressively enforcing wage laws and job safety. business groups have complained she refused to take a more cooperative approach. american international group will not join a shareholder lawsuit over its federal bailout.
3:10pm
a.i.g.'s directors said today they were legally obligated to consider taking part, but they opted against it. the company had faced mounting criticism since news of the suit broke. the 2008 rescue of a.i.g. cost $182 billion-- the largest of the financial crisis. all of it was paid back, leaving the u.s. government with a profit of $22 billion. vice president biden called in gun safety organizations and victims groups today, and heard personal stories of gun violence. it was the first in a series of meetings to brainstorm on ways to reduce gun violence. the vice president was given that responsibility by president obama, after last month's deadly school shooting in connecticut. >> we're here today to deal with a problem that requires immediate action, urgent action. and the president and i are determined to take action. this is not an exercise in photo opportunities or just getting to ask you all what your opinions are. we are vitally interested in what you have to say.
3:11pm
>> sreenivasan: tomorrow, mr. biden meets with members of the national rifle association and other gun owner groups. a pre-trial hearing ended today in the colorado movie shooting. prosecutors finished outlining their evidence against james holmes, and the defense opted not to make a presentation. holmes allegedly shot and killed 12 people and wounded 58 others at a late-night movie showing in the town of aurora, last july. the judge says he will rule by friday on whether holmes should go to trial. a large scale prisoner exchange has begun in syria. the government said today it will swap more than 2100 civilian prisoners for 48 iranians that rebel forces captured in august. the iranians were greeted in damascus by their ambassador, who called them visitors. the rebels insisted they were fighters, supplied by iran to support president bashar al- assad. it was unclear how many of the syrian political prisoners were freed today. opposition groups said there are tens of thousands being held. the middle east struggled today
3:12pm
with its worst january storm in 30 years. at least a foot of snow fell in jordan, blocking roads in amman and cutting off remote villages. that followed days of heavy rain in lebanon that touched off severe flooding. the rain, wind and nighttime dips below freezing were especially hard on thousands of syrian refugees living in tent camps and homemade shelters. in china, the ruling communist party resolved a censorship dispute with an influential newspaper. staffers with "southern weekly" in guangzhou said today officials will no longer directly censor content before publication. other controls will stay in place. protests erupted after censors rewrote a new year's editorial that called for political reform. the washington national cathedral will begin performing same-sex marriages. the cathedral announced the decision today as part of an effort to build a more inclusive community. the 106-year-old cathedral is a spiritual center for the nation, hosting presidential inauguration services and state funerals. it will be one of the first episcopal congregations to allow gay marriage rites.
3:13pm
on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained 61 points to close at 13,390. the nasdaq rose 14 points to close above 3,105. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: can a police office force a drunk driving suspect to take a blood alcohol test without a warrant? that was the question before the supreme court today, in a case involving fourth amendment rights. marcia coyle of the "national law journal" was in the courtroom and joins us now. >> thanks, jeff. >> start, as always, with the facts of case. >> ok. a missouri state police officer stopped tyler mcneily on the highway because he was speeding. the officer discerned that he might be under the influence of alcohol because he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of alcohol on his breath. >> all clues, right? >> right. mcneily failed several field sobriety tests. he refused to take a breath
3:14pm
test. the officer put him in the car, arrested him, was going to take him to jail but then decided to take him to a hospital for a blood-alcohol test. which mr. mcneily also refused to give consent to. mr. mcneily, of course, he had been arrested and charged. he moved in court to suppress the evidence of the blood-alcohol test, which showed that his alcohol level was way above the legal limit. >> so the legal issue is whether the warrantless blood test violates the fourth amendment right and that is the unreasonable search. >> exactly. warrantless searches are considered unreasonable, unless they fall within an exception to the warrant requirement. and that's what the state of missouri was arguing today. the state of missouri lost his case in the missouri supreme court. so they're appealing. and they were urging the court to adopt a categorical per se rule that police officers do not need warrants to do blood-alcohol tests.
3:15pm
and missouri argued that it was constitutional because it fell within the exception to the warrant requirement that the court has called exocontingent circumstances. >> and that's because -- >> those circumstances exist when for example the time it would take a get a warrant, it would endanger someone's life, or as missouri argued here, there's a risk of destruction of evidence. the missouri attorney said, with every minute, alcohol dissipates in the blood, so there's not only a risk that evidence will be dedestroyed but a certainty that any delay will destroy -- >> and the argument on the other side is or was today? >> right. steven shapiro of the aclu represented mr. mcneily and he said the warrant requirement should not be dispensed with, unless there were specific facts in a case that showed that it was unreasonable to require the warrant. and he looked to a 1966 supreme
3:16pm
court decision in which the court ok'd a warrantless blood-alcohol test because in that case there were specific facts. the officer was at the scene of the accident; the suspect who was suspected of drunken driving had to go to the hospital, it took a while until the officer could get to him and it would have taken too much more time to get a warrant. >> so how did the justices at a i this all in? what kind of questions, what kind of concerns did they show? >> it was pretty clear the justices lookedded at a blood draw than a more intrusive search than a breath test. for example chicken george roberts said it presents an image of someone in the hospital under restraint and the state coming at him with a needle. >> because it involve's needle. >> absolutely. and even justice sotomayor pointed out it's more obtrusive than a breath test. so the
3:17pm
question for missouri's lawyer who was arguing for this rule really focused on how impractical is it to get a warrant here? and missouri's lawyer said the trouble is not getting a warrant. the police can get the warrant. the trouble is the time it takes. in this case in particular, he said, it would have taken 90 minutes to two hours, and he was backed by the obama administration whose lawyers said every minute counts and the alcohol number counts as well. >> so were there justices that were skeptical of that argument then? >> yes. absolutely. justice breyer pointed out in many jurisdictions today, police can get a warrant over the telephone but mr. shapiro, when his time was up to tee fend the warrant in these situations, justice alito did point out that often rural areas don't have a magistrate or a district attorney on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to
3:18pm
look at the warrant request, and he asked, well, should all of the country operate the way new york city does. and mr. shapiro said no, but, in the absence of any evidence, getting a warrant a cumbersome and time consuming or that having the warrant or not having the warrant requirement affects the conviction rate you shouldn't dispense with the warrant requirement. >> does a case like this fit into etiological sides that you can, you know, compare to other cases or is this somehow different when you get into a fourth amendment search? >> sometimes the fourth amendment does show an etiological divide on the court but on this argument in particular, i didn't see that. i thought, across the board, the court was leery of dispensing with the warrant requirement, and they were looking for, perhaps, some kind of a compromise here, saying that the police, at least, have to try to get the warrant, and if they
3:19pm
don't get the warrant, then maybe the courts in general should look at the totality of circumstances and perhaps not getting the warrant was reasonable and justified. >> and this is why state courts have split on, i gather, right? >> they have. >> three and three -- >> they have split and they have split over how to apply that 1966 supreme court decision. some limit it, read it narrowly, requiring specific facts to justify no warrant. others look at it as saying no warrants required. i should point out that missouri is supported in this case by 32 states, the district of columbia and guam as well as, not surprisingly, mothers against drunk driving. >> marcia coyle, national law. thank you. >> my pleasure, jeff. >> ifill: as the president's second term takes shape, the obama administration is grappling with one of its
3:20pm
thorniest challenges, deciding how many troops will or will not remain in afghanistan after 2014. judy woodruff has that. >> woodruff: the talk of how many u.s. troops to leave in afghanistan comes with 66,000 still serving there, down from a peak of 100,000 in 2010. under current plans, combat forces would be withdrawn by the end of 2014, leaving an undetermined number of americans to train afghan troops. but yesterday the white house deputy national security advisor -- ben rhodes -- told reporters the number could be zero. he said, "we wouldn't rule out any option. the u.s. does not have an inherent objective of 'x' number of troops in afghanistan." the comment raised eyebrows in washington, especially in light of something that vice president joe biden said, in a campaign debate last fall.
3:21pm
>> we are leaving. we are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process, we're going the primary objective is almost completed. now all we're doing is putting the kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. it's their responsibility, not america's. >> woodruff: underlying all this: u.s. and afghan negotiators at odds over granting american soldiers immunity from prosecution under afghan law, after 2014. the issue is expected to come up friday, when afghan president hamid karzai meets with president obama at the white house. but if past experience is any indicator, agreement may be hard to come by. in 2011, negotiations to leave american trainers in iraq broke down over the immunity question and no u.s. troops remain there. for more on the troop levels
3:22pm
after 2014 we get two views: bing west fought in the vietnam war with the marines and served as assistant secretary of defense during the reagan administration. he's traveled frequently to afghanistan and authored eight books including "the wrong war: grit, strategy and the way out of afghanistan." and celeste ward gventer was a deputy assistant secretary of defense in 2006 and 2007. she also served as an advisor to u.s. political and military leaders in iraq. she's now at the university of texas in austin. and we thank you both for joining us. bing west, to you first, is it a good idea to even be considering going to zero troops after 2014? >> judy, i think it's nuts. i think it was a highly injudicious statement. our troops are still fighting there. our senior general just came in and offered three options. the midpoint option after 2014
3:23pm
was 12,000 troops. i don't see what the white house gains by making an off-the-cuff statement, well, maybe we will just make it zero. our troops are still in combat. the people who enjoy a statement like that are the taliban and al qaeda. we have an unreliable ally in president karzai, he is erratic and this will cause him to be even more erratic and our own ally will be looking at us and saying, no, where is the united states going. no, judy, i think this was a highly injudicious statement. >> celeste ward gventer, an injudicious statement and bad idea? >> well i have the greatest respect for bing west and i'm honored to be on the show with him but i respectfully disagree. for us to be talking about troop levels right now putting the cart before the horse in any case. because frankly we should be talking about our vision for the region strategically. in any event we still need
3:24pm
consider that having no troops there is a real option, and i think to ignore that option would be strategically foolish. we heard about the supposed apandora's box lips that was coming if u.s. troops left iraq. u.s. troops left iraq and the apocalypse has not arrive. that is an option for us and it would be irresponsible for us not to consider it. >> bing west, what is the argument for keeping a significant contingent of troops, whatever that number is? >> judy, i think it's pretty clear, in all due respect to celeste, in the iraq case we don't have what we have now in afghanistan. right next to afghanistan, pakistan is where al qaeda is today. the president, on over 300 occasions, has authorized strikes to kill al qaeda on one side of the mountain and we're trying to keep them from coming in on the other side back into afghanistan. and to leave that place open would hurt our own security so i don't want to stay there for the sake of the afghans but i want
3:25pm
to leave enough of our special operations forces there so they can strike wherever they have to and we can't do that if we pull out entirely. >> celeste ward gventer, why doesn't that make sense? >> well, i think you have to consider whether, if we left 20,000 or nine thousand or 3,000 troops there, when does it end? when is this over? it seems like a recipe for just staying there, disrupting these groups in perpetuity, and it's not clear to me that advances what is ultimately a complete kel problem in afghanistan. it's no at military problem. also, our presence may be creating what is called a moral hazard. states in the region and political groups in afghanistan are precisely not reaching the accommodation they need to reach because we're there. so i think we need to think deeply, strategically about what we're doing there for how long and then you ask the question how many troops you need to do
3:26pm
that. >> could -- bing west, could the troops, just extrapolating from what she said, could there be, if there were a significant number left after the formal end of combat, could that be an impediment to improvement in afghanistan? >> well, judy, the way i look at it, the only reason we went to afghanistan, with i have a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere is because 3,000 americans were killed from afghanistan in new york city. and those terrorists are right across the border and they still want to kill us. so the way i look at it, i will put the politics to one side but as long as al qaeda wants to kill us, i want to see us killing them until there aren't any more al qaeda left, none, just put them all 6 feet under the earth and that means we have to remain there and just keep hitting them and hitting them and hitting them until we shatter them. >> celeste ward gventer, you both, i think, have received to this as this has been brought up in the context of negotiating
3:27pm
legal immunity for any troops that would stay after the end of combat. why is that important? >> oh, it's utterly essential. we saw the break down in negotiations over troops in iraq on exactly this point. it would be intolerable for the united states to subject its soldiers to legal action by the afghan government. it's just simply unthinkable. and so we have to get past that problem first and that's a problem we didn't get past in iraq and it's why we really don't have troops there now. if i could just say i agree with the spirit of bing west's remarks. i too would like to see al qaeda six feet under the earth but we have to consider al qaeda has moved well beyond afghanistan and it's not clear to me how remaining in afghanistan with a fairly large footprint fits into a larger global counterterrorism program and i think we need to answer that question before we talk about how many troops we need in afghanistan, what they should be doing. >> bing west, you can respond to
3:28pm
that but i would like to know your view on this legal immunity. would you agree that is something that any troops that remain would have to have? >> i agree entirely with celeste. she is absolutely correct. look, i have no truck with a lot of what the afghan government is doing. i just look at this as being in our interests and i think we have to deal with president karzai in a very hard, very firm way because he is not reliable. but in the end, it's not about karzai and it's not about politics. it's about the fact that al qaeda wants to kill us. and we have to remain there with some troops because of distance. i agree with celeste, if we could be offshore and do it, fine. but the distance is so huge it makes sense to keep a small number of troops there who are aggressive and offensive. >> finally to you both, it's been raised or speculated this could be just a negotiating employ, tactic on the part of
3:29pm
the administration to get president karzai and his government to give that immunity. how do both of you see that question? celeste ward gventer. >> i certainly hope they're taking it veersly. as i said earlier, i think it would be irresponsible not to take it seriously. toes a real option and we should be exploring it. if it helps to put pressure on hamid karzai and other afghan officials as well as regional powers to let them know that we could be gone and they need to fix this problem and fix the problem in their region, then great. >> bing west, do you think it could be what she said, an effort to put pressure on president karzai? >> well, i hope so and i like the way celeste framed it but president karzai is so erratic that you don't know how he is going to react to anything so i prefer that we not do those things in public because he is really not that reliable. he is a little bit nutty himself. >> well, we appreciate you both talking with us.
3:30pm
we know president karzai will be meeting with president obama on friday. bing west, celeste ward gventer, thank you. >> thank you so much, judy. >> thank you. >> brown: next, a science and medical story involving research from the frontiers of robotics. ray suarez looks at how doctors are using high tech toys to help people with special needs. >> what's your favorite game? >> "mario cart," the original. >> reporter: in a carefully monitored session that seems more like playtime than therapy, researchers at the university of notre dame have enlisted an unusual therapist to assist their studies of children with autism, a two foot robot named kelly. >> i got to skip school today, because of you guys. >> that is so cool. i am so glad. >> reporter: kelly is working with 11 year old liam mcguire and a co-therapist of the human kind, kristen wier. >> for liam, kelly has become a friend.
3:31pm
i mean, he's very excited to see her. you can tell, he lights up when he sees kelly, he leans forward, his posture changes, his eye contact is much stronger. i think it's something he can relate to, and feel successful with. >> i like to play soccer. >> reporter: robots, like this one are being introduced in research settings where specialists are compiling data to see if the technology can assist individuals with special needs. notre dame psychology professors use a robot built in france by aldebaran robotics, as a tool to encourage children with autism, who may struggle just to engage in simple conversation. according to the autism society one percent of american children ages three to 17 have an autism spectrum disorder. autism is a developmental disability which often includes delayed speech, a lack of
3:32pm
interest in relationships, and limited eye contact. it is the fastest-growing developmental disorder and the need for new tools in therapy is great. >> i'm a really good guy, and i'm not weird, i just-- very special. >> reporter: assistant professor joshua diehl directs the notre dame project. >> in my clinical experience, i've encountered a lot of individuals with autism who have this really intense interest in technology. so the idea of this project is to take this interactive robot, which is really interesting and involves technology, and use that to sort of facilitate social skills, development in individuals with autism. >> reporter: at the laboratory for understanding neurodevelopment or fun lab, a child meets with a robot, and a therapist to work on set goals.
3:33pm
>> they have certain kinds of deficits related to their ability to interact with other humans and to socialize with people. and at the same time, they have a clear focus on what's called the world of objects, things rather than people. >> reporter: for liam, the goals are to practice asking and answering questions and engage both the robot and the therapist in a three way conversation. professor chuck crowell helped program the robots. >> this kind of a tool might be an interesting way to bridge the gap, pull the child, if you will, from the world of objects and the focus on objects over to the world of humans, because its an object with human-like capabilities. >> reporter: kristen wier works with children with special needs and co-teaches a course at notre dame about autism.
3:34pm
the robots, she says, are not a cure but a tool. >> i think the robot presents a calm, controlled stimulant, something that the child can find predictable. whereas our human interaction is always unpredictable, and can be exciting, or scary, or something. >> reporter: laura mcguire is liam's mother. >> what we found was, the robot is safe. the robot's facial features don't change, the robot doesn't gesture, i mean it gestures, but in a more predictable, robotic way. the robot doesn't have tremendous inflection, changes in the voice-- there's not so much to figure out with talking to a robot, where there was a lot to figure out in talking to a human being >> we don't want children with autism to learn to talk to robots. we want them to learn to talk to humans. so that's been one of our essential questions, is how do you get, if you learn a skill, talking with the robot, how do you get that to translate into an interaction with humans.
3:35pm
so, for example, one of the things that we were working on with liam, is to ask kelly, for example, how was her day, what did she do today, what did she do yesterday? and, spontaneously, one time when, when, uh, his dad came home, he asked his dad how his day was, and he had never done that before, and it was a spontaneous. >> reporter: but children with autism are just one group of people with special needs researchers hope robots can help. here in los angeles, at the southern california school of engineering, they're also pushing ahead on the frontiers of robotics, looking for new work for robots to do, not way off in the future, things like running, and getting up stairs, or carrying heavy loads. they're convinced here that there are a lot of things that robots can be helping with today, instead of waiting for far of technologies, its called socially assistive robotics.
3:36pm
at u.s.c.'s robotics research lab, roboticists, who also work with children with autism, have expanded their research into other special needs populations- - notably the growing need for elderly care. professor maja mataric is the founding director of u.s.c.'s center for robotics and embedded systems. >> a very interesting area to explore is creating machines that can interact with people one-on-one, to bridge what i call the care gap. so there are a lot of people, numerous, thousands, even millions of people, who need one-on-one care, whether it's because they are aging in place, and they're becoming lonely and isolated. they need to be reminded to be social, to walk around, to connect with their family, to take their medication. >> jack, can i have you move your arms like this? >> reporter: u.s.c. graduate student juan fasola conducts exercise sessions with elderly participants-- using a u.s.c.-
3:37pm
designed robot named bandit. >> really the robots intention is not to replace anybody, not to replace any of the human care, but rather to supplement that care, to provide that care where that care is not available or not cost feasible. so if you imagine a stroke patient for example, they need to do eight hours of rehabilitation every day to progress in their injury, to heal, and a therapist might be with them for one, maybe two hours before going on to another patient. >> terrific, great. jack follows you got it, you got it lower your left hand a little. >> reporter: following bandits exercise program helps aging participants like 83-year-old jack frost keep not just their bodies in tune, but their minds too. >> if i had a chance to work with this every day, i think it would help me in trying to improve my short term memory, which i've kind of lost. >> try and remember as many gestures as possible. oh that's too bad, here is the
3:38pm
correct gesture >> reporter: the robot is not judgmental, so it is participants don't feel embarrassed if they by perform tasks incorrectly. >> i think it's easier for me to communicate directly with a robot knowing i'm not going to get any feedback like i might from a human being. >> reporter: and unlike computers, smartphones and laptops, people tend to ascribe attributes to robots, much like they will pets. >> something in our wiring gets us to be socially active and engaged with machines that can be socially active and engaging back with us. and so there's tremendous potential to create machines that can engage with people, and help people in their daily lives. >> they've been in television shows and in our imagination, but they're coming to be companions. they're coming to be around us, and there are some people who predict that within a few years, there's going to be a robot in every home. >> reporter: as more kids need
3:39pm
help, as more people live longer and as the u.s. wrestles with providing care, and spending less money. the roboticists figure sooner or later, a mechanical friend will become part of your life. science fact, instead of science fiction. >> ifill: now, the latest on a flu season that's hitting early and often. reports of widespread infection are now coming in from more than 40 states. 2,200 people have been hospitalized. 18 children have died. the blow has landed especially hard in several cities. in boston today, mayor thomas menino declared a public health emergency. and in the chicago area, more than a dozen hospitals have been so overwhelmed, they've have had turn patients away. we're joined by two people following this closely. dr. julie morita is medical director for chicago's health department. and dr. william schaffner is
3:40pm
chairman of the department of preventive medicine at vanderbilt university. >> thank you for joining us. dr. schaffner, is it worse than it has been in the that's. >> well, gwen, last year, we were a little bit spoiled. we had the lowest number of flu cases in the united states for years and years, so flu has come back, and it's come back early and a bit with a vengeance. it's all over the country, and as you have said, in some cities, it's causing a lot of illness. >> well, let me talk about this matter of degree with you a little more dr. schaffner. is it a matter that it's coming -- it's coming earlier but are the symptoms more receiver? >> well it has come earlier gwen and it's caused prominently by an influenza strain that usually cause's bit more severe illness. so there are a lot of people going to the emergency room and calling up their doctors and complaining about illness and coughing. >> dr. morita, let's talk about
3:41pm
chicago in particular. what are you seeing there? how hard is it hitting? >> in chicago we have numerous symptoms to track it. we are looking at emergency room visits due to influenza and intensive care unit hospitalizations and pediatric deaths, and early in december we started to see that rise in influenza activity and we actually have had many intensive care users and hospitalizations reported to us. at this point we haven't had any pediatric deaths reported to us and we're thankful for that. >> you mentioned pediatric deaths especially, but are elderly also equally vulnerable? >> on the intensive care unit hospitalizations that we have had reported to us, the vast majority of them are senior citizens with underlying health conditions so yes with this particular strain we know the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are more likely to get seriously ill. >> let me ask you and i want to ask dr. schaffner this, what do the hospitals do with the added
3:42pm
pressure? we mentioned in the introduction about turning some patients away? >> in the state of illinois emergency rooms have a by pass system where they can, for certain reasons, whether it's low-bed availability or backed-up emergency rooms, they can have paramedics and ambulances divert or by pass their emergency rooms with non-critically ill patients to other nearby hospitals so they have been doing that and that's what you referred to earlier. the state has been monitoring that closely to make sure that those hospitals are diverting appropriately and also that people are able to get adequate care. >> dr. schaffner are you hearing about the same pressure being put on hospitals and also on emergency room quick clinics, whatever as this continues to build? >> well in our neck of the woods it's has not been quite as bad as it is in chicago. emergency rooms and doctor's offices have been very busy but we, too, have preparedness plans such that if the pressure is great, we can share our
3:43pm
resources and, if necessary, expedite people being discharged from the hospital just as promptly as possible so we can facilitate the admission of patients to the hospital. we have not yet had to implement that sort of plan here in nashville. >> dr. schaffner i have to ask you the question that i bet you every other viewer is thinking which is i had a flu shot this year. does that make me impregnable at this point or does this mean i'm just as vulnerable as everyone else? >> just remember, the influenza vaccine is a good vaccine but it's not a perfect vaccine. it works best in young, healthy, people who have a robust immune system but paradoxically in the people that we would like to protect the most, seniors, people with severe underlying immunological illnesses it's not as effective but even so it often provides partial protection. it will make a more serious illness milder.
3:44pm
it can prevent hospitalization and, of course, death. >> dr. more ito what do you tell people that ask you about sacs nation? obviously you tell them to go ahead and have it but what if they compaq and tell you, i got sick anyway? >> i think it's important to remember what dr. schaffner said and that is, it's not a perfect vaccine so even though you got sick you didn't end up in the hospital or get seriously ill. and the other thing, there are many respiratory viruses circulating at this time and the flu vaccine own prevents flu infections so people could be getting sick with other infections as well. >> so it's possible to suffer from related diseases and maybe you have already had one shot. is it worth it for someone would didn't have a flu shot, dr. morita and then dr. schaffner, to go ahead and do it at this late at a time anyway? >> absolutely. we're still seeing an increase in influenza activity so flu season not over so we're recommending people get vaccinated if they haven't
3:45pm
already. >> dr. schaffner? >> you bet. i agree completely. but don't linger. get on about it. protect yourself as well as those around you. you don't want to transmit this virus to people with whom you work and people you love in your family. >> well i'm proud i got mine. i'm going to pass it on to everyone else. dr. morita and schaffner, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> our pleasure. >> brown: finally tonight, this year the story is the stars who were not given baseball's highest honor. the announcement came from jeff idelson, president of the baseball hame of fame and museum in cooperstown, new york. >> for only the eighth time since voting began in 1936. brian, the voting membership did not elect anyone to cooperstown. >> brown: idelson did not say so, but the taint of the steroids era kept out three big
3:46pm
names who were eligible for the first time. sluggers barry bonds and sammy sosa and pitcher roger clemens fell far short of winning enough votes from the baseball writers association of america. bonds held the records for most home runs in a season and the most all-time. he's also the only seven-time most valuable player. he's denied ever knowingly using steroids. but in 2011, he was convicted of obstructing justice in testimony to a grand jury investigating the issue. clemens won the cy young award, as best pitcher, a record seven times. and in 2008, he denied using human growth hormone in congressional testimony. >> let me be clear: i have never taken steroids or h.g.h. >> brown: clemens was later indicted on charges he lied to congress, but last june, he was acquitted of all charges. sammy sosa belted more than 600 home runs in his career,
3:47pm
including 66 during the 1998 season. he, too, appeared before a congressional committee in 2005, insisting he never used steroids. that committee also heard from another former star, mark mcgwire, who admitted to steroid use five years later. today, he was denied entry to the hall of fame for a seventh time. barry sverluga covers baseball for "the washington post" and joins us now. >> barry, for our non-baseball followers, explain the dilemma here. these players, bar bond and roger clemens in particular, there's no question of their greatness as ball players, right? >> that's right. i mean all of them would be first ballot hall of famers, certainly clemmons and bonds. bonds is probably one of the best hitters of all times and clemmons one of the best pitchers, first on the strikeout list but this is a deeper issue and a dilemma for the baseball writers who have been in charge of voting people in the hall of
3:48pm
fame. there's a character clause in the hall of fame guidelines and i think the results would show that the majority of writers are not comfortable electing people who they believe have cheated the game, have cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs. >> you know, as we said, bond and clemmons, they have all denied using them, so baseball people are saying that there's enough evidence or there's enough question or what exactly are they saying in this vote? >> that's exactly what they are saying, talking to former commissioner vincent, he thinks the whole thing is murky and that's probably the best word to describe it. keep in mind this is a process, too. >> these guys can be on the ballot up to 15 years if they keep getting a requisite number of votes so there's time to make a judgment here and i think there's a real reluctance among voters to make a judgment when they don't feel like they have all of the information that they might get in a decade. look at lance armstrong's case in cycling, we don't think -- he
3:49pm
denied it for years ask years and years and now there's a chance he might admit to using performance-enhancing drugs so it's a difficult spot for the voters. >> it's interesting that nobody got in so one wonders does the steroid scandal go beyond the stars that we have all talked about, does it in some way taint a whole generation of players? >> that really is the flip side. you know, what do we know for a fact about any of these people and just because their names have not come up, you know, in the mitchell report in 2007, baseball's independent investigation into the whole problem, does that mean they were clean? i think that's one reason why you did have zero people voted in this year because people are waiting. increasing biggio who got the most votes this year was on the ballot for the first time. might we find out in five or six years that he used performance-enhancing drugs? i think that's where hesitance comes into the minds of some voters. >> what do we know at this point about how the public views this.
3:50pm
we're talking about a vote done by the baseball writers. what about the public? are they more or less forgiving or do we know? >> they are forgiving in that they say in a poll that we ran in "the washington post" this morning that most people are not caught up in the issue of did you cheat or not cheat? with the baseball hall of fame though there is a little bit of a demarcation there. the majority felt that people such as bond and clemmons, even though they have denied it's, they have been tainted by the scandal, and it's odd for the public because they want to see the home run and the big strike out. how much it matters to them how those players got to that result is a little unclear. >> you were talking about the fact that these players have, of course, more chances every year, there's another vote, up to a certain limit, i guess. but is there some possibility that some of the writers were, i don't know, giving a kind of slap this time to make a statement, you know, and say,
3:51pm
well, we are not happy but it's possible it will come back next year or in future years and vote them in? >> that possible. i think what you have to look at in the case of bonds and clemmons, who both received fewer than 40% of the vote is how far they have to go to get to the 75% threshold that is needed to get in to the hall. that typically happens in, say, nonsteroid cases where the writers kind of say this guy is an all-time great and should get in on the first ballot and stat stamps him as an elite class, elite among the elite. there are changes in votes year to year and the environment changes, the discussion goes further. i think there will be some developments over the next few years in regards to these two guys and sosa included but is it enough to bump them up another 40% wii is what they need 0 get into the hall. >> i'm curious in the last 30-seconds, you said the writers look at other cry i can't, the
3:52pm
brirs and the strikeouts and those are things like character. is that something well defined in baseball and in sports? >> well, you know, that rule was written a long time ago. so ty cobb who is a notorious womanizer is easily in the hall of fame. what defines character has evolved over time. this has defined the discussion and other areas and hall of fame don't have that in their procedure. >> barry sverluga thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: a major new study found one in eight american teenagers has had suicidal thoughts and one of every 25 has attempted suicide. there was word that president obama will nominate his chief of staff, jack lew, to be treasury secretary. while labor secretary hilda solis announced today she plans to resign and insurance giant a.i.g. decided not to join a shareholder lawsuit against the federal government, which gave the company the largest bailout
3:53pm
of the 2008 financial crisis. and we have another health story online about how the u.s. ranks in terms of life expectancy. hari sreenivasan has more. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. spends more on health care per person compared to other high-income nations, but that doesn't translate to healthier lives, according to a report from the national academy of sciences. read more about the findings on our health page. and poet richard blanco has been chosen to compose and read an original poem for president obama's second inaugural. he is the first hispanic and first gay poet selected for that honor. you can hear him recite some of his work on art beat. all that and more is on our web site newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll examine president obama's likely choice for treasury secretary, white house chief of staff jack lew. i'm gwen ifill >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thanks for joining us. good night.
3:54pm
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for
3:55pm
public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
3:56pm
3:57pm
3:58pm
>> this is "bbc world news." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. zte. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business, offering specialized solutions and capital to help you grow your business. -- need your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> this is cody --
3:59pm
"bbc world news america. the government in syria swaps prisoners for 49 iranians as the bbc said it is time for change that country. one family was forced to escape the flames in this fire. and need the nominations for the britons academy awards and -- and the nominations for the british academy awards are released and we have the films that made the cut. > >> welcome to our viewers on public television in america and elsewhere around the globe. the syrian government has released 2000 prisoners, including women and children. the release was made in exchange for 49 iranians being held by rebels. it marked the first prisoner swap of its kind during the war. swap of its kind during the war. it